David Lomax: Backward Glass

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David Lomax Backward Glass
  • Название:
    Backward Glass
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  • Издательство:
    Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
  • Жанр:
    Фантастические любовные романы / на английском языке
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Backward Glass: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Crack your head, knock you dead, then Prince Harming's hunger's fed. It's 1977, and Kenny Maxwell is dreading the move away from his friends. But then, behind the walls of his family's new falling-apart Victorian home, he finds something incredible--a mummified baby and a note: "Help me make it not happen, Kenny. Help me stop him." Shortly afterwards, a beautiful girl named Luka shows up. She introduces Kenny to the backward glass, a mirror that allows them to travel through time. Meeting other "mirror kids" in the past and future is exciting, but there's also danger. The urban legend of Prince Harming, who kidnaps and kills children, is true--and he's hunting them. When Kenny gets stranded in the past, he must find the courage to answer a call for help, change the fate of a baby--and confront his own destiny.

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 Backward Glass


David Lomax

To my wife, Christina,

without whom none of it is possible.


Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

The Rules

Going backward, it only opens from eleven until midnight, only in the years that end in seven.

From an even-numbered decade, you can go back on even-numbered days. Same for odds.

Once you’ve gone back, you have to wait until midnight. After that, you can go home again anytime.

When you go uptime to your home, you can bring the chosen kid from the past with you.

The mirror only picks one kid every decade. It never picks anyone older than sixteen.

You can’t ever really change anything.

When you go downtime from your own mirror, you can take the kid from the future with you.


Here’s what you need to know: You’re my son and you’re something like negative twenty-two, because that’s how long it will be before you’re born. I have a story to tell you. Most of it happened right here in Scarborough, forty, fifty, even sixty years ago, but it happened to me. Last year. 1977. The year I turned fifteen.

I wish I could begin on that cold day in January when I met her, but I should tell you about the dead baby and the list with my name on it. A year and a half ago, my parents moved us into this house, the one the long-termers in the neighborhood call “the old Hollerith place,” far enough out of Toronto for me to call it the boonies.

That’s what we do. My dad moves us into a place to fix it up, and then after puttering around with it for a few months, he wants to move again.

This was the worst change yet. Two months into the ninth grade and thirty days to pack up. I spent weeks grousing, sleeping, arguing, dragging my feet.

Still, when we drove up in the moving van on the first of December, and I got my first look at the old Hollerith place my dad had been raving about, I quit complaining. I didn’t want to, but I could see what he saw in it—a grand old falling-apart house with a lot of history bearing down on it. It even had a second building on the property, screened off by high hedges.

As we piled out of the car, my dad saw the direction of my gaze. “It’s a coach house,” he said. “Or a carriage house. It’s part of the property. It’s ours.”

My mother laid a light hand on my shoulder. “The people who lived here were well off once,” she said. “Kept their horse and carriage there. Who knows what happened? At one point, they turned it into a proper house and rented it out. The real estate agent admitted to your dad that it hasn’t been much of anything for a while now. The neighborhood kids have been going in there and drinking and whatnot.”

Inside the main house, up past the squeaky porch and through a well-worn door, I got that kind of combination disappointment-thrill that you only have when you’re trying your hardest to hate things that turn out to be cool. My bedroom was the attic.

And with that, my two months of held-up resentment boiled away. First, a mysterious extra house at the back of the property, and now an attic bedroom. I could be Greg Brady up there, the lord at the top of the house. As I trudged up the old-fashioned too-steep stairs, then tugged to pull my staircase down, I could already imagine the calls from the first floor that I’d be able to deny having heard, the arguments I could escape.

The room was even better in person, though I guess not everyone would have thought that way. My dad had come the day before with some bus-driver friends from work and moved in most of our furniture. My bed, dresser, and bookcase now made a small island in an ocean of history. Scattered far into the dusty shadows were tables, credenzas, roll-top desks, sofas, and piles of dining room chairs.

“Oh, my God,” said my mother behind me. “When he told me there were a few sticks of furniture here and there, I didn’t expect a bonfire in the waiting. I’m sorry, Kenny. We won’t keep you in this. There’s an old nursery downstairs we could repaint.”

“But it’s—” I gave up. “It’s fine, Mom. I like this room. I want this one.”

And just like that, I was committed. Two turns of emotional judo, and she was the one doing me a favor. I was halfway down the stairs before I realized what had happened.

The hedge around the carriage house had grown tall and untended, and the effect was that you couldn’t see the squat building at all until you had squeezed past onto its scrubby yard. The outline of the wide entrance that once admitted horse and carriage was still visible as a ghost of newer bricks inset with a low door that didn’t even seem to have a latch. Clouds of dust billowed from a hayloft window.

From head to toe my dad was dark grey, out of which his eyes and teeth shone with a mad gleam. I shook my head. “Mom’s never letting you back in the house like that.”

He shook right back, shedding clouds from his curls and wild beard, but not getting noticeably lighter. “She can hose me down when I’m done.”

My dad gave me what he called, “The nickel tour. A dime would be a rip-off.” The main floor was all one space, half kitchen, half living room. The hayloft, accessible through a bare, rail-less stair was, like my room back at the house, both for sleeping and junk storage. It hadn’t seen electrical service in years, and the gas was shut off for safety reasons. The roof was collapsing, the floor unsafe, and the place filled with mold. “Late 1800s this place must have been built. Same as the main house. The outside walls show a lot of care. But all this?” He pointed with a crowbar at the wall we were to demolish. “Maybe twenties or just before. In a hurry, too. We can do it much better.”

He gave me a pair of gardening gloves and sent me up-stairs with a hammer and a chisel, and instructions to get underneath the wall panels any way I could and just start ripping.

I got good at hammering the chisel in and working it around until I could pry an edge out. That’s when I’d get to smash away with the hammer for a while, weakening the plaster’s hold until I could pull the board out whole. Underneath, the bricks of the exterior wall were motley and old, but they felt solid. I finished as high as my shoulders on one of the short walls, and started on the more difficult long back wall.

Then the prickling started under my T-shirt.

I remember that shirt. It featured Speedy Gonzales, my favorite cartoon a few years before, and was now old enough to be on my mom’s “tear-it-up-for-dusters” list.

Suddenly, it felt like I had bugs crawling on my chest, or like I had put my hands on those electricity balls at the science center. I gasped and started scratching and feeling around, then began coughing on the plaster dust I had sucked in.

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